A group of about 15 current and former Apple employees are calling on their colleagues to publicly share stories of discrimination, harassment and retaliation they experienced while working at the company. The movement called #AppleToo launched August 23rd with a website and Twitter account gathering more than 300 responses on the first day.
The collective says that stories of Apple workers collected and presented together ‘expose persistent patterns of racism, sexism, inequity, discrimination, intimidation, suppression, coercion, abuse, unfair punishment, and unchecked privilege’. It also states that employees asking for ‘accountability and redress’ face a pattern of ‘isolation, degradation, and gaslighting’. Apple has long had a culture of secrecy that extended not only to new product announcements but also to public relations, creating an opaque and intimidating fortress for workers.
The group claims they’ve exhausted all internal avenues and it’s time to ‘think different’. One of #AppleToo's founding members and leading voices, Scarlett Cher, reports that a great share of the complaints comes from Apple Retail and corporate levels of the business. Although ‘a lot’ of responses pertain to U.S. employees, Scarlett said ‘it's definitely not just here’, noting several responses from Europe.
This effort has been supported by organizers, such as Timnit Gebru, who worked at Apple before joining Google in 2018. In December 2020, after Gebru was abruptly fired by Google, she disclosed her experience of racism and discrimination at Google, but she never publicly talked about her time at Apple. Now, she has stepped up and said: ‘I have experienced a lot of shocking things while working at Apple. I am very happy to see that Apple’s workers are organizing’.
The group shared that they are working together to figure out what their next step will be. One possible outcome could be the creation of an official union to bargain and legally enforce changes within Apple.
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Photo Credis: AppleLaborers